14 Countries to Participate in Ukraine-US Sea Breeze 2012
Kyiv, February 7, 2012. Ukraine is beginning its preparations for the upcoming international military exercises Sea Breeze 2012. Currently, 14 countries, apart from the USA and Ukraine, confirmed their participation in the drill that will take place in July of 2012. This year’s command and staff military exercises will focus on planning of maritime security operations.
Ministry of Defense of Ukraine informed that Sea Breeze 2012 was aimed at providing security at sea – security of civilian ships, security of fishing and other marine activities. The Ukrainian-American military exercises this summer would involve 15 vessels, 5 aircrafts, 2 squadrons of Ukrainian marines, as well as a ground troops unit and the international team of divers. The training will take place at the military training area in Odesa region and north-western part of the Black Sea.
Sea Breeze exercises have been conducted since 1997 under the regulations documented in the memorandum of understanding between the ministries of defense of the USA and Ukraine signed in 1993. The trainings are held in cooperation with NATO. In the last 15 years Ukraine hosted nine international military exercises – in 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. The exercises traditionally involve the troops of NATO countries on rotational basis. Ukraine also hosts a Rapid Trident drill, which also seeks to carry out peacekeeping missions.
The value of such training lies in exchange of experience and skills between the participating parties. Commenting on the matter in February of 2011, the Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine Colonel-General Hryhoriy Pedchenko explained that the main goal of the training was to “raise the level of confidence in each other”. He added: “The exercises are originally Ukrainian-American; however, I have invited our neighbors to participate: Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, and Russians.”
In 2011, Ukrainian military forces took part in over 20 exercises. Besides Sea Breeze 2011 in June – October with up to 2,400 participants and Rapid Trident 2011 with 1,500 participants, they took part in the USA-Ukraine-Poland exercises Safe Sky 2011 (350 participants), Ukraine-Russia training Fairway of Peace 2011 (400 participants), the Ukrainian-Romanian exercises, and a series of exercises with air defense forces involvement. The Ukrainian Armed Forces also joined military training in Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, France, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.